Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP): The Higher Education Amendment Act of 1965, as amended, mandates institutions of higher education to establish a minimum standard of “Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)” for students receiving federal financial aid. North Carolina A & T State University makes its standard applicable to all federal, state and some institutional funds.

The satisfactory academic progress applies to all terms regardless of whether financial aid was received. Satisfactory academic progress will be evaluated for all students (full or part-time, transfer, readmitted and forgiveness) annually (at the end of each spring semester). Students who enroll at the mid-point (January) of an academic year or attend one semester only will also be evaluated at the end of the Spring semester.
Students re-admitted under the “three - five year forgiveness policy” or any other rules must also meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards to receive financial aid.

To ensure Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) all students must meet all of the following minimum standards:

  • Maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher for undergraduate students;
  • Maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher for Graduate and Doctoral  students;
  • Earn 67% of hours attempted; and
  • Not exceed 150% of hours required for the degree.

Students who fail to meet one or more of the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards at the time their academic progress is reviewed (end of Spring semester) are not eligible for financial aid and will be placed on financial aid suspension.

Completion Standard for Attempted Credit Hours
Students who receive financial aid must successfully complete a minimum of 67% of all attempted hours. If the number of completed hours drops below 67%, the student will no longer be eligible for financial aid. Attempted hours include all hours attempted at the University and transfer hours accepted, whether or not the student earns a grade or receives credit. Successful completion of a course means that the students must obtain a grade of A, B, C, D, P or S.  Courses with grades of F, I, U and W will not qualify in meeting the minimum standard.  To calculate 67%, multiply the total number of attempted hours by .67 (rounded downward to the nearest whole number). As an example: if a student’s attempted credit hours are 30, he or she must complete a minimum of 20 credit hours (30 x .67 = 20) in order to ensure SAP for the year.

Maximum Time Frame
The number of credit hours a student attempts may not exceed 150% of the number of credit hours required for graduation in his or her program of study, as published in the University Bulletin. If the published number of hours required for graduation is 124, an undergraduate student may not attempt more than 180 credit hours (120 x 1.5 = 180) and continue to receive financial aid. All attempted hours are counted in determining the 180 hours limit, including transfer hours, whether or not financial aid was received or the course work was successfully completed.

Second Degree
Students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree and are pursuing another undergraduate degree must submit a completed Second Degree Form. Second-degree students cannot exceed the aggregate loan limit for an undergraduate student. Second-degree students must maintain a 2.0 annually and pass .67% of the hours attempted.  Second degree students who previously attended the University will have their attempted hours and earned hours reviewed beginning with their enrollment in the second degree at the University. 

(1) - A”W” grade which is recorded on the student’s academic record will be included as credits attempted and will have an adverse effect on the student’s ability to maintain satisfactory academic progress. Students who officially withdraw from the University must make up the deficit hours and are encouraged to attend summer school to remove the deficient hours.

(2) - Incomplete (I) grade – An incomplete grade indicates that a student has not completed all course-work required for a grade and is included in the cumulative hours attempted. An incomplete grade will count toward attempted hours but not as hours passed until a final grade is posted in the Registrar’s Office.

(3) - Repeated courses – A student who has received a failing grade in a required course at this University must repeat and pass the course unless otherwise indicated by the Registrar or Dean.  Students (undergraduate and graduate) may only receive federal financial aid for one repetition (repeat) of a previously passed course. Students who have already passed a course with a grade of a D or better may only repeat the class one additional time and receive financial aid for that course even if a C or higher is required for the major.  All repeated courses are included in the total attempted hours for SAP evaluation.

(4) - Change of Major - A student may change from one degree to another during attendance at the University. Students who change from one major to another are still expected to maintain satisfactory academic progress and complete the course work within the time frame or hours limitation stated unless an appeal is approved. All attempted hours from a prior major are included in the total attempted hours.

(5) - Audited courses - Courses audited do not count as either attempted or earned hours.

(6) - Hours Enrolled - The number of credit hours in which the student is enrolled on the day following the published last day to add/drop a class will be used as official enrollment for financial assistance purposes; full-time status is 12 or more hours. If a student withdraws from classes after the last day to add/drop a course, they may not meet the minimum number of hours to be earned in one academic year.  Re-admitted students will be reviewed on their previous academic records in order to determine eligibility for assistance, whether or not financial aid was received. Re-admitted students not maintaining SAP must submit a letter of appeal.

Academic Suspension or Dismissal
Students who have been placed on Academic Suspension or Dismissal from the University must meet our Satisfactory Academic Policy (SAP) once they are re-admitted. Re-admitted students are not automatically eligible for financial aid.  If students do not meet the required standards, they have an option to submit an appeal.

Students who are academically suspended at the end of the Spring semester, but are allowed to enroll in the Summer term(s) as a condition of their reinstatement, are not eligible for financial aid during the Summer term(s).

Financial Aid Termination
Students who do not meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards are not eligible for further financial aid, including Summer School. Students will be notified by Office of Student Financial Aid of their financial aid termination at the end of the spring semester through a letter to their permanent address and to their University e-mail account. Students whose financial aid is terminated must remove their academic deficiencies or have an appeal approved before their aid can be reinstated.

Academic Suspension
Students who are academically suspended at the end of the Spring semester, but are allowed to enroll in the summer term as a condition of their reinstatement, are not eligible for financial aid during the summer terms.

Summer Award and SAP Review
Students who begin enrollment in the summer, will not have their satisfactory academic progress reviewed until the end of the next Spring semester.  Continuing students who are awarded prior to the SAP evaluation at the end of the Spring semester will have any federal and state financial aid awarded canceled for the summer, upcoming semester and/or academic year if it is determined that SAP is not met at the end of the Spring semester.  Generally, appeals are not granted for summer school. 

Unofficial Withdrawal
Students who fail to earn a passing grade for any of the courses they attempted due to non-attendance or unofficially withdrawing from the University may be required to repay all or a portion of their aid for the term not completed and may not be eligible for future financial aid unless an appeal is approved and the funds are repaid.

Appeal Procedure
Students not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress may appeal for consideration of financial aid. To appeal for the reinstatement of financial aid eligibility, students must complete the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form indicating the extenuating circumstance(s) (i.e. personal illness, injury, medical problems, change of major, undue hardship, family issues, legal troubles, difficult transition as a first year student, death of parent or immediate family member, required prerequisite or other special circumstances) that may have prevented the student to perform at his/her academic best.  Documents supporting the student’s appeal must accompany the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form.  Students must also submit a signed Academic Plan of Action from their academic advisor or department detailing how the student will successfully complete the academic semester, year or program of study. It is important to note that submitting a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form does not guarantee a student’s aid eligibility will be reinstated.

As a requirement, students submitting an appeal must complete and submit two lessons from the Life Skills Financial Literacy Module. One of the modules must be #203 and the second module can be of the student’s choice. Appeals will not be reviewed if the Life Skills modules are not completed with an accuracy of at least 70%.

  • Lesson 201 - How Do I Achieve My Goals?
  • Lesson 202 - What Do I Need Before I Select a Program of Study?
  • Lesson 203 - How Do I Live on A Budget While I am in School?
  • Lesson 204 - How Do I Manage School Life?
  • Lesson 205 - How Do I Manage My Personal Life While I Am in School?
  • Lesson 303 - How Do I Establish Career Goals?

Conditions for Reinstatement
Students will be notified, in writing of the appeal decision within 15 days. If an appeal is approved, the student will be placed on probation and must sign a Satisfactory Academic Progress Action Plan with the Office of Student Financial Aid before any aid is awarded. Students who are granted an appeal and do not meet the requirements, as stated for any semester, are placed on financial aid suspension until satisfactory academic progress is achieved.

Appeals are initially reviewed within the Office of Student Financial Aid. If an appeal is denied, the appeal is automatically forwarded to the Financial Aid Appeal Committee to be reviewed.  Appeals may be denied due to insufficient reason and documentation. The Chair of the Appeals Committee will notify the student of the Committee’s decision in a letter sent to the student’s permanent mailing address and to their University e-mail account.

Any student whose financial aid has been terminated may re-establish satisfactory academic progress by any of the following methods:

  • Enroll and pass a course or courses for Summer I, Summer II and/or Dual Session.
  • Repeat courses in which a grade of F was earned.
  • Satisfy requirements for all incomplete grades.
  • Receive an Approved appeal.
  • Complete the semester using their own resources.

It is the responsibility of the student to be aware of his/her satisfactory academic progress status. 

The awarding of financial aid will depend on the eligibility and availability of funds at the time of the appeal approval or reinstatement of eligibility.

Submitting an appeal does not guarantee approval.  Appeals are reviewed and approved based on extenuating circumstances and documentation submitted. 

Once an appeal and all supporting documentation is submitted to the Office of Student Financial Aid, it will take approximately two – three weeks for a response. 

Students who are not meeting the SAP requirements may explore alternative loan options. . For instance, the University’s monthly tuition payment plan or applying for an alternative student loan.